Just as you can’t visit Montreal without grabbing a bagel, Seattle without grabbing a coffee, and LA without watching a movie, it’s hard to stop by Vancouver and to not be charmed by it’s amazing array of record stores. In fact theres something for everyone; for hip hop heads you have Beatstreet, if you’re a crate digging fanatic Neptoon could satisfy your needs, and for someone whos in the mood for more than just records Dandelion is your shop, and if none of these options sound like the right choice for you, luckily there remains a panoply of other shops right at your disposal. In fact there are so many amazing record stores worth talking about that we had to separate this column into 2 parts, the first of which which focuses mostly on the cities true record store hub: the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood.
4332 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3R1
A mere 2 minute walk away from King Edward street and Main, Red Cat records has managed to acquire itself a solid reputation in the Vancouver record store scene especially due to its extremely wide variety of new records and cd’s, friendly staff, and accessible location.
What you’ll find:
Specializing mostly in new vinyl and cd’s, Redcat is your go to place if you ever find yourself looking for your favourite band’s newest album or a reissued version of a long lost great. Although they do have a used section it is often lacking and the selection is rather limited, it is however very well priced so if you happen to come on a good day you might, with a little luck, walk out with a low priced gem.
How you’ll find it:
If you’re looking for a store overflowing with loose bargain bins, cases of beaten up cd’s, and records piled up to the ceiling, Redcat is not your store, in fact it’s quite the opposite, they seem to pride themselves of their organization. Using their vast space to their advantage, Redcat manages to fit as many records as they can while keeping them incredibly well organized making it a breeze to find whatever it is you’re looking for.
3561 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3N4
Vancouver’s oldest independent record shop: Neptoon is a very peculiar: if the teal facade doesn’t convince you, just wait until you see the inside with it’s wood walls, life size human cat dolls and bins literally overflowing with new and used records, cd’s and even movies. Neptoon’s quirks might not appeal to everybody, but it’s worth checking out anyways.
What you’ll find:
With it’s oversized bargain bin and used section that takes up over half the store, it’s clear to see what kind of store Neptoon is. This is the type of shop where you walk in never expecting what may be in store for you and where you walk out with your hands either empty, or full of cheap treasures. Either way, the sheer pleasure of digging through the seemingly bottomless crates is satisfying enough to keep you coming back. And this isn’t to forget the new section which can often be overseen. Although not nearly as wide as Red Cat’s, Neptoon sacrifices genre variety to instead focus mostly on 1 genre and sticking to it. The genre in question here is rock and roll, but that’s not to say that you won’t find any electronic, rap, soul etc. Neptoon are also proud purveyors of the local scene; often putting on free local shows and having a wide variety of local vinyl both new and old.
How you’ll find it:
Organization wise: Neptoon is perhaps the antithesis to Redcat, instead of neatly organized bins, Neptoon opts for a messier approach. Records, literally falling off the shelves, and it’s not difficult to trip over a loose crate. However, despite this storm, all the records manage to be organized nicely in alphabetical order making finding the record you want a simple task once you’ve gotten over the initial shock of the sheer mess.
2442 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E2
Located in the heart of main and broadway, Dandelion is perhaps the most versatile of record stores selling not only new and used vinyl but also having the front half of the shop devoted to selling artisanal gizmos, making it the perfect shop to record shop with your friend who couldn’t care less about music.
What you’ll find
Don’t get fooled by Dandelions small size, as it has undoubtedly one of the greatest selection of vinyl in the city. Specializing mostly on the weirder side of the musical spectrum, Dandelion is the place to go if you’re on the search for a rare 60’s relic or even a reissue of it you would never find anywhere else. If that isn’t your thing, don’t panic, with a section for everything from soul to hip hop to rock and roll you’re sure to find whatever it is you’re looking for. Although they don’t tend to carry many new releases cd’s or tapes, what you’ll end up finding digging through the crates will very well make up for it.
How you’ll find it
As previously mentioned Dandelion might not be the largest record store (partly due to the fact that half the store used up by the artisanal section) but unlike many stores of this size they use this lack of size to their advantage creating a very cozy, intimate environment, this small size also enables them to stock only the best of product. Organized in a very neat fashion with visible genre separations, Dandelion have managed to keep things simple without sacrificing clarity.